Review: Kopa

Since January 2006 I have been the proud owner of the tiger coral edition of the Kopa. This time a Kopa definitively kicked the SS Kiwi out of my pocket as an office EDC. The clip allows for deep and discreet carry while the draw is still nice and easy. The flat grind is no match for the Kiwi’s hollow grind and thick blade. I do miss the wharncliffe profile just a little sometimes, but the leaf shape is more allround.

kopa_spyderco

Introduction
After handling the Classic Viele I knew I finally warmed up to the Kopa, especially the black micarta version. I havehandled the first prototype during the preview show in 2004, but never really warmed up to the concept. It took me a year of enjoying that fine gent’s knife called the Kiwi. The Kiwi is great, but it lacks a clip and a full flat grind. The Kopa delivers that, and more.

Micro Li’l Temp
When I finally handled my new Kopa for the first time at home, I was struck by the heft and thickness of this piece. The blade, bolster and lock are all much thicker and solid looking than I remembered from the prototypes. Combined with the leaf shape blade, I really thought I was handling a micro Li’l Temp. The ergos of the handle only reinforce that comparison. On closer inspection, I indeed noticed that the Kopa is heavier than I expected. Compared to an SS Dragonfly, the Kopa is heavier. But I have a suspicion that Eric Glesser may have had something to do with the Kopa design.

kopa_spyderco_blade

Weight
The weight disappears when you open the Kopa and the elongated handle virtually melts in my hand during use. Just like the Manix, the weight is there on paper and when ‘weighing’ the knife in your hand, but during carry and use the weight seems to disappear. I consider elongated handles and weight distribution ‘trickery’ to be signature aspects of Eric Glesser’s designs.

Fit and finish
Fit and finish are p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Every connection is flawless; I cannot feel the transition of any given part on the blade and handle. The locking bar is mirror polished, including on the inside of the handle. The lock is solid, no blade play whatsoever. I still haven’t noticed the ever so slight vertical blade play that is common to the lockback design when pressure is put on the edge. So far, the lock and handle exude strength, heft and perfect fit and finish.

Action
The opening action is the smoothest I have experienced in a lockback. Definitely on par with my Military or Sebenza. The fit and finish on the outside have been carried on into the mechanics of this little jewel of a knife. The clip looks similar to the wire-like clip on the Pride. However, closer inspection reveals that this clip has a mirror polish and it grips nice and light. And it has a very classy and elongated curve. The high-ride position adds to making the Kopa ‘office-friendly’.

kopa_spyderco_handle

Handle
The handle offers a full-relaxed grip on the knife. The handle surface has the smoothness of a real working knife, and the micarta inlay offers just the right hint of grip. Although the design seems lefty unfriendly, it is more than lefty friendly for me. The rounded shoulders allow for very comfortably left hand IWB carry. The curve on the clip is shallow enough, to angle out the knife the wrong way during pocket carry. And the smooth as glass action makes up for the lack of a clip to grip for thumb opening the blade.

Use
The blade is thick and short (for its size) which puts it on a disadvantage for cutting chores. The full flat grind makes up for these perceived deficiencies. Slicing bagels, tomatoes, chicken and other foodstuff, feels like you’re using a really short Stretch or Calypso Jr.. The limited blade length once in a while reminded me that the Kopa was not made for the kitchen. Opening stuff, cutting out articles and the apple for lunch is what the Kopa does best. Still, this hefty and solid little knife does give me the feeling that it can do a lot more.

kopa_spyderco_clip

Overall
I love it, and I want more! My Kiwi is in real danger of being replaced as a preferred office knife. My SS Dragonfly has just been kicked out of regular carry. There’s a new flat ground subcompact Spydie in town. Functionally, the Kopa is perfect for a small gent’s folder. The limited production run makes it an excellent collectible for this Spydieknut.

The fit & finish, full sized handle design and smooth opening action make the Kopa excellent for ‘play’ as well. The only downside is the short blade length. The full sized handle and solid construction keeps giving me the impression I’m working with a Calypso jr. or Endura-sized knife. I am only reminded of the shortness of the blade when the stuff I’m cutting hits my hand holding the knife. The Kopa in a bigger envelope would be nice. As is, it’s great for daily use and plenty low profile for office use and such. As far as the marriage of exclusivity, fit & finish, lock strength and practical design is concerned, the Kopa is in the same league as a CRK Mnandi (and yes I handled one and own a Sebenza), in my opinion. A true custom collectible from the crew in Golden.

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One Response to Review: Kopa

  1. […] etc… They end up with a pretty unusual looking knife, but they work really well. I think the Kopa series was Sal’s first and only attempt to deliberately make a ‘pretty knife’. Furthermore, […]

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